Stress is a common everyday circumstance but, like all emotions and state of minds, it can be controlled, as well as a positive thing. Life places demand on us all – from work demands to the requests from school, the children, partners, friends, families and so on. Jackie Price, Managing Director of Onsite Plus, discusses stress, where it comes from and how to handle it.
We understand that stress is a negative emotion but, we also need to understand that in some ways, it is a positive driving force in the workplace – and life in general. The time when stress becomes bad is when the demands placed on us are extreme, over the top and unattainable. Some stress is good in the sense that when a deadline is looming or an important exam, the thought of dealing with it, preparing for it and so on means that we must face it.
The stress is short term, disappearing after the exam has been sat and the deadline reached. But, when stress is there, on a daily basis with the effects beginning to seep into every aspect of life, it becomes a danger.
This perilous state of affairs can affect the fine balance of emotional health, as well as physical health. Heart problems, including heart attacks, can be exacerbated by stress, with mental health issues from depression to anxiety also become common.
The heightened awareness around mental health issues have made not only individuals more aware of its impact but employers are beginning to realise that the adverse effects of stress are no good for their staff, nor their business.
Figures from 2013 -14 indicated that 11.3 million days were lost in the UK economy due to days off work relating to stress and anxiety, the largest category in this work-related study. It is a common denominator that eats away at a business and thus, there are organisations that have been formed to help deal with stress-related issues.
Stress is a highly individual emotion. Although some workplaces may be recognised as a high-stress environment, this does not mean that everyone will be suffering stress, permanently. Neither does it mean that if you have a great job in the nicest of environments that you will not suffer stress.
There is no rhyme nor reason stress can strike, nor why it stays with us and thus, as an individual we also need to take responsibility for managing our stress levels but also asking for help when we need it.
However, like most mental health issues it can be easier said than done thus, here are five top tips for managing workplace stress.
- Identify the stressor and take a break – there may be something specific that is impacting on your stress levels and identifying it is an important step in understanding where your stress is rooted, as well as would be done about it. Allow yourself time to do something else, even if it is only 20 minutes to move away from the issue, and allow the mind to unfurl slightly.
- Exercise – Studies have shown that the production of endorphins during exercise is a great way to the body being able to tackle physical stress. However, a one-off splurge around the park will not do it. Regular exercise of 20 minutes, around three times a week can be a great stress-reliever. Neither does it need to involve kitting out for the gym; a brisk walk in the fresh air around the local park is just as effective.
- Maintain the laughter and the smiling – the brain is a complex organ but it understands that if we are smiling or even laughing, we can feel a little better about ourselves at difficult times. Stress is an emotion that can be etched across the face. Laughing and smiling won’t make the stress go away but it can help dealing with it a little easier.
- Support – there is no doubt that the best way of starting to diffuse some of the stress we feel is to communicate. It can be anything from sending an email to your line manager, telling them you are having difficulties with a project and that you need help/more time, etc. to complete it. You may not get the outpouring of support you need, but YOU have opened the gates for support.
- Massage – as much as we do all these things, the physical impact of stress can stay with the body and sometimes, our bodies become blocked or clogged with negative emotions and memories. Massage is a great way of boosting circulation, and starting to move these blockages and negativities out of the body.
Stress is everywhere. Recognise it, work with it but if you feel it overwhelming you, take action!
Onsite Plus is a national company dedicated in delivering “in-office” relaxing therapies such as chair massage to your most precious asset, your staff.
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